Is there an Age Limit when Treating Infant Tongue-Tie?

treating tongue tieSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

If you’ve landed on our blog today, you may be wondering whether your child has a tongue-tie. A tongue-tie refers to restricted lingual frenum or thin tissue attaching the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Everyone naturally has a lingual frenum, except sometimes that tissue is too thick or short, tethering the tongue and restricting its movement. But a tongue-tie isn’t something that develops over time. You’re either born with a tongue-tie, or you’re not. However, ignoring the condition could result in feeding problems, delayed speech, and growth and development problems, among others, for children. Unfortunately, those issues magnify during adulthood. Laser surgery provides a fast and easy fix for tongue-ties. But is there an age limit when treating infant tongue-ties? Find out on our newest blog today as our Bay Area dentists that treat infant tongue-ties explain how to tell if your baby is tongue-tied and when you should bring them in for treatment.

How to tell if your baby is tongue-tied

It’s best to identify and treat tongue-ties as early in life as possible. Lactation consultants and pediatricians may identify infant tongue-ties, depending on their training. However, parents should be aware of common tongue-tie symptoms in babies so that they can seek treatment as soon as possible. Tongue-tied babies may fail to latch onto their mother’s breast when nursing, which could lead to colic, frequent feedings, and failure to thrive. If a baby is tongue-tied, the nursing mother may experience sore and tender breasts due to the baby’s inability to empty the breasts during feedings. And the mother may experience a low milk supply. Her baby may seem inconsolable, mainly because they are cranky from not getting enough milk since their tongue is tethered and impedes their ability to latch properly.

Why you shouldn’t ignore your baby’s tongue-tie

Ignoring a tongue-tie is not ideal. Your baby will not “grow” out of it. In fact, a tongue-tie continues impacting growth and development and may lead to delayed speech or speech impediments, mouth breathing, airway disorders, and other health problems throughout life. These problems may not sound too serious, but they are because the tongue plays an essential role in digestion, speech, and developing the jaw and facial structure for a favorable facial profile. Plus, while babies and toddlers may be unaware of their condition, school-aged children may be teased due to impaired speech, or their nutrition could suffer from being unable to chew and eat certain types of food.

When to bring your baby in for tongue-tie surgery

Tongue-tie surgery in Marin consists of laser dentistry by a skilled dentist. At Glen Park Dental, we treat tongue-ties in children and infants, even babies only a few days old. The procedure is relatively painless for babies, although older children may benefit from receiving a mild anesthetic before their surgery. In less than a few minutes, the laser cauterizes the tissue, releasing the tongue-tie. Laser surgery for tongue-ties results in minimal bleeding and smooth recovery for most patients. Older children that may have developed poor oral posture, have a reverse swallow, tongue thrust, or are chronic mouth breathers may benefit from Myofunctional Therapy, which is like physical therapy for the orofacial muscles – the mouth and tongue. Myofunctional therapy in Oakland is only available from a licensed myofunctional therapist and can help establish proper swallowing patterns and oral posture, encourage nasal breathing, and in some cases, lessen the need for orthodontics later in life.

Infant Tongue-Tie Treatment in Marin, Oakland, and the Bay Area

If you think that your baby or child is tongue-tied, schedule a consultation with Glen Park Dental today. We’ve had many patients benefit from laser treatment for infant tongue-ties. To learn more or to speak with a dentist near you that treats tongue-ties, please call (415) 585-1500 today or contact us online.